Global Covid: woman dies in Sydney’s Delta outbreak, 745 new cases in Germany

Show caption Medical staff in Sydney administer drive-through Covid tests as the Australian city endures an outbreak of the Delta variant. Photograph: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images Coronavirus Global Covid: woman dies in Sydney’s Delta outbreak, 745 new cases in Germany Australia’s biggest city remains in lockdown while South Korea records 1,324 more infections Staff and agencies Sun 11 Jul 2021 06.23 BST Share on Facebook

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Australia has reported its first death of 2021 from locally acquired coronavirus, while cases of Covid-19 have grown in China and continued to surge in South Korea.

The Australian state of New South Wales is battling an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant, setting a 2021 record of 77 new cases of the virus on Sunday.

A woman in her 90s died on Saturday in Sydney after testing positive for Covid-19. The state’s premier, Gladys Berejiklian, said case numbers in and around Australia’s biggest city, which is in a three-week lockdown, were expected to rise further in coming days.

“I’m anticipating the numbers in New South Wales will be greater than 100 tomorrow,” Berejiklian said. “I will be shocked if it is less.”

On Saturday there were 50 cases, which was a record for 2021. This takes the recent outbreak to 566 cases.

In Taiwan, the chipmaker TSMC said it was in the middle of the contract signing process to buy Covid-19 vaccine shots from Germany’s BioNTech, Pfizer’s vaccine partner.

The island’s government has tried for months to buy the vaccine directly from BioNTech and has blamed China for blocking a deal the two sides were due to sign earlier this year. China denies the accusations.

Last month the Taiwanese government agreed to allow Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of Taiwan’s Foxconn, as well as the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) to negotiate on its behalf for the vaccines, which would be donated to Taiwan’s government for distribution.

“There are multiple parties. We are in the middle of the contract signing process. We will make announcements once the process is completed,” TSMC said.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Taiwan’s premier, Su Tseng-chang, would only say that talks for the vaccine were continuing. “Once there is a definite outcome, we’ll naturally report it to everyone.”

Gou and TSMC this month reportedly reached an initial agreement with a subsidiary of Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group, which has a contract with BioNTech to sell the Covid-19 vaccines in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. China’s government has repeatedly said that if Taiwan wants the vaccine, it has to do it through Fosun.

Meanwhile, South Korea reported 1,324 new coronavirus cases as of midnight on Saturday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said, down from a record 1,378 the day before. Reported cases often dip over weekends with fewer tests conducted, and authorities have warned that cases may continue to rise.

The surge has seen far fewer serious infections than earlier waves, with many of South Korea’s older and more vulnerable residents vaccinated virus. Overall about 11% of South Korea’s 52 million people have completed vaccination, while 30% have received one dose. The spike is being largely driven by younger unvaccinated people, according to the KDCA.

The surge has prompted officials to mandate the strictest level of social distancing in Seoul and neighbouring regions for the first time, starting on Monday. South Korea’s total Covid-19 infections to date stand at 168,046, with 2,043 deaths.

China reported 24 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, down from 26 a day earlier, the country’s national health authority said. Twelve of the confirmed new cases were locally transmitted infections in the south-western province of Yunnan. The remainder were imported.

The number of new asymptomatic cases – which China does not classify as confirmed cases – rose to 17 from 16 a day earlier. Of the asymptomatic cases, one was a local transmission recorded in Shaanxi province.

The total of confirmed Covid-19 cases in China stood at 92,039, while the death toll remained at 4,636.

In Europe, the overall number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by 745 to 3,736,165, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Sunday. The reported death toll rose by six to 91,231.

With Reuters